I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home. My family all loves Jesus. I have loved Jesus as long as I can remember. And I have always lived hard for him—willing to sacrifice, willing to do whatever.
But I’m a philosopher. A thinker who has sought truth and consistency as long back as I can remember. It’s how God made me. Simply embracing doctrines because that’s what we do has never worked for me—in fact, I practically lost my sanity trying to reconcile certain positions held by a former church of mine and the scripture upon which said positions were supposed to be based. And even still, I believe that God is reasonable and that whatever the truth of faith is, it won’t contradict the truth of science.
Not only am I an academic, I am also gay. And I have been as long as I’ve been sexually aware of having any preference. In my early 20s, I was in a deeply loving relationship that my church broke up—because it is a ‘sin’ for two women to be together. Upon the end of that relationship, I found myself jobless (I worked for her), homeless (I lived with her), and completely isolated (everyone else I knew thought our relationship was an abomination before God). I moved back to my parents, who, as soon as I exited the car to walk up to the house’s door, stood me aside and called me sickening and disgusting, and informed me that if I were ever to be in another such relationship, I’d be disowned.
I closeted, hard. And I buried myself between the covers of my books.
But everyone still knew. Five years later, I was active in my church in children’s ministry. A covey of women freaked out and went to the pastors in hysteria that a ‘violent tempered lesbian’ was in a position to pervert their children’s minds. They didn’t want me alone with their daughters. I had been working alongside these women for four years. And I was abruptly removed from ministry and put in a theologically safe place.
I was allowed to remain on the worship team. They liked how I sing. Then that faded, too. For the next ten years, no matter how many training programs I completed at my church, no matter how faithfully celibate I remained, no matter how mum I stayed about my orientation, I was always conveniently kept out of any leadership position, usually told that it would be better were I to marry. Of course, there were other women in leadership who weren’t married—but they weren’t gay.
So I went back to college, completing my bachelor’s and master’s in philosophy, simultaneously drawing closer to truth and being shoved away from it: the former from my growing awareness of God’s love and awesome creativity, the latter from my growing isolation as a closeted gay in a world where gays go to hell.
And so I came to a place of spiritual and emotional exhaustion. I have always loved Jesus. I have always felt a strong call to minister. And I didn’t know where else to go—this was my church home, my closest friends, my family.
I stopped attending. It was just too hard not to be allowed to exist externally, and to be gnawed at internally by doctrinal worries I had about a significant portion of what was being taught by these people with whom I had such a complicated relationship. I love them deeply. Many of them love me. Still, all of them think that if I embrace my homosexuality as God-given, I will have gone fully apostate. Some—my mom included—believe this is a guaranteed ticket to hell, if not full-on demon possession. I quit reading my Bible, which was my daily companion for 25 years.
I moved across the country in the pursuit of my doctorate in philosophy, and began a spiritual hibernation.
Or was it a metamorphosis?
Here it is four years later. A total of twenty years in the closet. And I can’t stay bound any longer. I’m out. And I’m out because I desperately need Jesus, and what has been barring me from him is my unwillingness to accept that God made me gay. Once I came out to God (as if that was any big surprise!), the weariness in me was completely removed. My passion for God revived powerfully, and I am filled with a longing to be with him again.
And I’m rethinking everything. Buried in scripture, theology, and philosophy, I’m relearning who this God is whom I serve and who loves me.
My friends back home think I’m making a horrible mistake, that I’ve abandoned God and sound doctrine. They have informed me that although they’ll always love me, we can no longer be in fellowship. They think this because it is, in their religious tradition (and mine) unacceptable to question anything—but God gave me a questioning mind. And they think this because it is even more unacceptable to be gay.
I won’t be moving back home.
It’s time to proceed in my walk with Christ, learning to live the abundant life according to the blueprint by which I was designed—an academic, a philosopher, an intellectual, a lesbian. I am created ad imaginem Dei, even as I am created gay.
This blog is designed as a forum for discussion about how one can reconcile intellect, homosexuality, and Christianity—a deep abiding love of Christ and longing to be a part of the kingdom of God, however I am called to participate.